IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 516: Magic and the Natural World

Tuesday 8 July 2008, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Societas Magica
Organiser:Catherine Rider, Department of History, University of Exeter
Moderator/Chair:Iona McCleery, Institute for Medieval Studies / School of History, University of Leeds
Paper 516-aReading the Natural World: Omens and Divination in Late Medieval Confession Manuals
(Language: English)
Catherine Rider, Department of History, University of Exeter
Index terms: Lay Piety, Mentalities, Religious Life, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 516-bMagic and the Boundaries of the Natural in the Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Sophie L. Page, Department of History, University College London
Index terms: Medicine, Mentalities, Religious Life, Science
Paper 516-cAnimals, Vegetables, Minerals, and Demons in Late Medieval Magic
(Language: English)
Robert Ralley, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Medicine, Mentalities, Science

This session explores the ways in which magic employed natural substances and/or phenomena in the late Middle Ages. It will also examine the ways in which medicine, natural philosophy, confession manuals, and magical texts distinguished between the natural and supernatural worlds, and used natural substances to bridge the gap between the two. The papers will focus on the uses of natural objects in magical texts; the ways in which natural objects might be used (legitimately or illegitimately) to draw down spirits; and on forms of divination based on the observation of animal behaviour and other natural phenomena.